High Variance

AnyList vs Grocery IQ

Jason Snell recently wrote that once he invests the time to learn and get comfortable with a tool, it takes something not just a little better, but substantially better to get him to switch. His examples were software he uses to edit podcasts and his overall computer set up: He edits his podcasts with Apple’s Logic even though many folks think he should move to Adobe Audition. Similarly, he really likes a lot about working on an iPad, but it’s not enough to make him sell his Mac and go whole hog on iOS.

I tend to agree with Mr. Snell on most things and this is no exception. About a year ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find we both used the same grocery list app: Grocery IQ. Sure, it’s kind of ugly and barely maintained and littered with useless coupons, but it worked better than any other list app (general or grocery-specific) I had tried. And yet, when I saw the folks over at The Sweet Setup chose AnyList as their favorite grocery shopping app I was tempted–Could it be worth the switching cost? On the other hand, this is an app my wife and I both use several times per week so the bar was higher than usual. I bit the bullet and checked it out.

The short answer is that AnyList is way better than Grocery IQ and I couldn’t be happier that I switched. Here’s why:

  1. I can add items to the shopping list with Siri; e.g., “Add bananas to my grocery list.”
  2. I can reorder aisles (“categories”) to match my store’s layout.
  3. AnyList makes more efficient use of screen real estate.
  4. No coupons!
  5. AnyList has much faster syncing of shared lists.
  6. It’s under active development. This has tangible benefits relative to Grocery IQ like the fact that it uses the current iOS keyboard instead of a grody old one.

From here on out, I’m going to be more open to trying new tools. In this case, I screwed up the cost benefit calculation on both sides: I couldn’t imagine the app could be this much better than what I was already using, and I over-estimated the switching costs–It’s not like a had a whole bunch of muscle memory invested in checking off items as I bought them.